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Natural Awakenings New York City

Curing Tooth Decay through Diet and Saliva Buffering

gross alka whiteMeasuring the buffering capacity of saliva is a simple, inexpensive way to identify systemic and oral disease, but the test is vastly underused, says Dr. Lewis Gross, director of the Tribeca Center for Holistic and Integrative Dentistry.

Gross offers free saliva pH tests: the more alkaline the saliva, the better it buffers against decay, he says. “Normal saliva has a pH of 7.2, but only in a more alkaline environment can teeth and bone remineralize and naturally cure incipient decay. Many younger people who were raised on fluoride don’t have cavities, but they might have sensitive teeth and severe root erosions. The sides of the teeth abrade from excessive acidity. Increasing alkalinity is an important treatment for other health problems too.”

Coffee, alcohol and many over-the-counter medicines are dehydrating and create acidity, he says, while tap water has a neutral pH of 7. Gross recommends drinking more water, especially alkaline brands such as Icelandic and Mountain Spring. Certain food combinations can also raise oral alkalinity. (See nutritionist Anna Maria Pontes’s discussion of this subject in last month’s Natural Awakenings.)

Gross, a pioneer in less-invasive dentistry, has developed Alka-White, a natural mouthwash made from essential oils and spices, which increases pH, whitens teeth and freshens breath. The product is undergoing clinical trials and should be available for purchase in two months.

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